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Feb 3, 2011

Get educational opportunities through COBEC

At least seventy percent of teachers of children in their formative years are not suitably qualified. It is a dismal statistic in early education which the Ministry of Education hopes to change. This week, it is hosting the Consortium for Belize Educational Cooperation (COBEC) to discuss the development of education system and educational opportunities for Belizean teachers to go abroad for training. It’s the first of two meetings for the year, during which a memorandum of understanding was signed, which provides for scholarships at the Gainesville University in Georgia. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

The first COBEC meeting for 2011 started today at the ITVET. That means that more than thirty educational institutions, both local and international, are engaged in two days of discussions on ways to better Belize’s education system, with the help of the US schools.

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education & Youth

Patrick Faber

“This year they are focusing on cooperation and partnerships in areas that are not necessarily limited to education. You’ll hear them talk this year about sports and about cultural collaboration. In fact on the agenda over the next two days will be presentations made by these other stakeholders in the Belizean society so it should prove to be a very exciting two day conference.”

One of the highlights is the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Education and Gainesville State College from Georgia.

Patrick Faber

“They are assisting us with the training of our early childhood educators. There is a serious void of trained teachers in our education system in this area and we said to Gainesville can you help us with this. They have agreed to give us scholarships to Gainesville State College. in any given year we can send four—and that number should not exceed twenty at any time—and these people will be trained in the mechanisms, strategies of early childhood education and then come back and help us to train more of the teachers who are here.”

Al Panu, Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs, Gainesville State College

Al Panu

“It’s both the culmination of a good bit of work that has gone on as well as the beginning for what we hope will be a long term, many years of collaboration for years to come.”

Doctor Carlise Wynne from Gainesville has been working in Belize for the past five years to determine where the local education system is most lacking.

Carlise Womack-Wynne

Dr. Carlise Womack-Wynne, Chair, Dept of Education, Gainesville State College

“We’re responding to the needs that we’ve seen. At the upper level, it’s required that you have more specialization in content. But at the lower level—the primary and preschool level—it’s sometimes overlooked and taken for granted when honestly that’s the most important area in terms of building a firm foundation for a child’s education.”

Patrick Faber

“It’s very important that we put our strong teachers at the start of the education journey for children and that is what we’re hoping to do. We have in excess of seventy percent of the teachers who are teaching in pre-schools and early childhood centers across this country and even in lower infant school at the primary level who are untrained. And we’re saying that that is simply not acceptable.”

According to Minister Patrick Faber, training early childhood educators is expected to curb the rate of students who perform poorly and drop out in the latter years of primary school. And Gainesville’s Al Panu says it’s a mutually beneficial agreement.

Al Panu

“Each one of our students, when they’ve had a chance to come to Belize, have shared how much they have gained in terms of perspective, in terms of enlarged world view and understanding of the global economy and understanding of the kinds of contributions that they can make individually as well as the community that they’re going to be a part of. They always leave more enriched than when they came.”

While the teachers will be granted scholarships, GOB will pick up the tab for accommodations and other expenses. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

A similar agreement was signed in 2010 between the Ministry of Education and Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts. They are providing scholarships to train in special education, early childhood education and literacy. The first group of teachers is set to graduate in May.

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4 Responses for “Get educational opportunities through COBEC”

  1. Earl Grey says:

    Patrick Faber ……………….. WILL ALWAYS REMIND ME OF Mr. CHARLES GOODE…….

    WHOM HE (Patrick Faber ) INDIRECTLY CAUSED TO DIE………TO PROVE POLITICAL POWER.

  2. reggie says:

    Faber forget Charlie Good was one the Best Police Special Officer who had make Belize safe for him to be where he is at today.But now he and his G.O.B.Can”t do that for kids of the Furure,he should do a research about the Police Special Force and take some Pages from that book and use it in the Police Dept.

  3. Sawmill says:

    Such an idiot how the hell did he cause Charles Good to die…..the ignorance of our people

  4. CEO says:

    Then what will they do when they return to Belize? We send people out to get trained and when they come back they are never placed in positions that they can make a difference. So they get frustrated to have to deal with the same old crap and they leave and come to the US and sell their tallents for much more.

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